Barack Obama's move to the center A conventional left-wing
politician moves to the political center
Article added on July 10, 2008
Barack Obama is a slick, shrewd and conventional
left-wing politician who moves
to the political center after the primaries in order to have a better chance
to win the 2008 presidential election.
Is this unexpected, terrible, treason? No. It's just not change we can
believe in. It's the audacity of shifting positions if needed. Barack Obama
“liberal”, in a European context meaning a left-wing or more or less
social-democratic voting record in the senate. He has never been a centrist
politician. His claim to be different is only true when it comes to
his rhetoric, and even this only when he has learned a speech by heart or
when there is a teleprompter around, Hillary Clinton was right on that.
What matter's to the world is where Barack Obama stands on free-trade. In
the rust belt and other rural areas, he pandered to blue-collar workers, to
farmers and in general to the left-wing of the Democratic Party, offering
“solutions” to economic problems and attacking the NAFTA free-trade agreement.
That is simply not what the world needs.
Once he had clinched the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama came up with a
strange explanation for some of his positions during the primary campaign:
things e.g. regarding trade-issues, he said, could get
“overheated and amplified” during the primary campaign. Hmm...
Barack Obama recently offered signs of hubris. The Obama team took the seal
of the president of the United States of America, replaced the writing with
“Obama for America” and
“Vero Possomus”, which is Latin and roughly the equivalent of his campaign
“Yes we can”.
In order to look presidential, Barack Obama plans to give a speech in front
of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan
gave there impressive speeches. Barack Obama surely could deliver an equally
impressive speech with the help of his ghostwriters and with or without a
teleprompter. However, he is only a presidential candidate, not an elected
president. As an American voter, a guy so presumptuous even before being
elected to office would worry me.
Barack Obama has a long list of moves to the center. Call it flip-flopping
or opportunistic repositioning. The bottom line: Barack Obama is just a
politician like most others. Just for the record: Barack Obama shifted
positions on the right to bear arms. late-term abortion, Iraq, free-trade,
faith-based institutions delivering public services, etc.
Let's go back to what else matters to the world: Barack Obama's stand on
foreign and military policy. His naive, even dangerous decision to pull out
of Iraq and his meetings without preconditions with the world's dictators in
his first year in office.
He will remove 1-2 combat brigades each month, and bring all combat brigades
out of Iraq with 16 months after taking office. That is his current stand.
He just added to consult with the generals in the ground. Although he
pretends that this is no shift of position, it could of course mean that if
the commanders on the ground have other advise for him, he may change his
position regarding a withdrawal within 16 months of taking office.
Some readers may recall from my
February 2008 article that, on January 30, 2007 Barack Obama introduced
the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 into Congress. Obama advocated a
phased withdrawal of U.S. troops starting in 2007 with the goal of removing
all combat brigades by March 31, 2008. As we know today, it remained a fairy
tale. It was in March 2008 that he came up with his 16 months strategy, a
withdrawal by July 2010.
John McCain is no holy man either, with his own fair-share of flip-flops and
pandering, but on free-trade and on Iraq, he offers
the better policies and the better leadership. One may argue that being held
as a prisoner of war for many years does not necessarily prepare
someone for the office of president. That is true. But community work in
Chicago is no better reference.
Barack Obama has not distinguished himself in the senate, neither as a
centrist nor as somebody who crosses over the aisle.
“present” in too many occasions is not a sign of leadership.
Barack Obama may not be ready to disown his mother, but he was ready to
disown his pastor of 20 years, who was like family to him. If necessary, he
is ready to make
“tough choices”. He is a great orator, a traveling salesman, successfully
selling a certain image of himself. A lot of politicians do that, even John
As somebody who graduated magna cum laude from Harward Law School and
served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review,Barack
Obama surely is intelligent and clever. But that does not necessarily
qualify him to be the next president of the United States of America. As I
wrote before, neither Barack Obama nor John McCain have ever held an
executive office. But John McCain is more of a known quantity than the
fortune cookie Barack Obama.